Australia will face a team of Test-chasing West Indians in a tour match granted bigger significance for the hosts following Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s dumping by selectors.
The decision to omit the 40-year-old from the upcoming two-Test series against Australia means there’s a vacancy in the Windies batting lineup.
Several of the region’s brightest batting hopes will line up for the West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI in the three-day game against the tourists in Antigua starting on Wednesday.
Captain Leon Johnson, who has already played four Tests, vice-captain Carlos Brathwaite and opener Tyrone Theophile are considered the men most likely to force their way into the 14-man squad that will be named on Friday for the first Test in Dominica starting June 3.
Theophile is seen as the frontrunner, allowing Shai Hope to move down the order into the position vacated by Chanderpaul.
Johnson says Australia will need to be wary given the stakes involved for his young team, who’ll all be out to impress.
“Looking at the squad assembled by the selectors obviously the players who they’ve selected are the players who’ve done well in the regional tournament, probably not just this year but over a period of time,” he said.
“Just looking to come out and give a good show of ourselves against the number two Test team in the world.
“Good performances here might give selectors something to think about.”
Johnson himself admits he’s viewing the match as a way back into the international ranks after being overlooked for the recent three-Test series against England.
The 27-year-old has made one 50 in his four Tests so far but clearly is keen to return to that arena.
“I was left out of the team for the England series and coming up now against Australia, a good performance here, two good performances, maybe will give me a chance to get back in the international side,” he said.
The three-day fixture begins at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua from 10am on Wednesday (midnight AEST).
WICB President’s XI: Leon Johnson (Capt), Carlos Brathwaite, Sharmarh Brooks, Rajindra Chandrika, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Jason Dawes, Shane Dowrich, Imran Khan, Marquino Mindley, Jason Mohammed, Tyrone Theophile, Jomel Warrican (two to be omitted).